Bringing the Industry Together: ASR, CLASS@ASR and Crossroads
Retailers applaud the convenience and service found in San Diego
San Juan Capistrano, CA (February 10, 2010) – The industry benefits as ASR, CLASS@ASR and Crossroads staged together in downtown San Diego February 3, 4. Together the three events provided a platform for 600 brands to link up with thousands of buyers from around the world. Between appointments attendees had the opportunity to see the world's best skaters compete, art installations, review fashion trends and glean information from educational seminars.
"Our goal is to the service the industry, especially retailers, with a convenient platform to efficiently conduct a wide range of business needs in two focused days. Judging from feedback it seems that ASR Access definitely accomplished that," says Andy Tompkins, VP of ASR. "Everyone in the industry really stepped up to create a powerful event and a valuable tool for retailers."
Retail buyers were happy to have the convenience and variety of product to see between ASR, CLASS@ASR, Crossroads all within easy walking distance. Exhibitors were feeling the first sprouts of the economic recovery as they filled both days with appointments and drop bys from leading retailers.
"We're seeing our established brands, our men's buyer is here and he's booked throughout the day. We're always looking for new brands and networking with other retailers and our vendors to hear the buzz on new brands at the show," said Duke Edukas, Owner, Surfside Sports and BRA West Coast Chair. "Our skate buyer could shop Crossroads and our men's could see contemporary brands at Class@ASR and lots of surf and apparel at ASR."
The 29-year-old event took on a new look for this February as pre-fabricated booths allowed brands of all sizes to exhibit affordably at ASR. The central Monster Foundation Lounge provided a place for networking, lunch and relaxing during the show. Brands said that they appreciated the lower exhibit costs with the same access to a world-class retail environment that they've come to expect from ASR.
"I love the fact the show is an even playing ground. The retailers showed and committed making it worthwhile, Chuy Reyna, Marketing Director, Firewire. "I was excited about the A grade retailers and international presence. We have a very small distribution channel, so seeing the best retailers at ASR makes attending a no brainer, it's really successful for us."
Joel Cooper, President of …Lost also mentioned the benefits his brand felt from an international buying audience. "There was a lot of uncertainty about this show whether people were going to be here. Wednesday (February 3rd) for us was as good of a first day as we'd ever had. A lot of people were pleasantly surprised. This is still the most important show for Lost in both seasons. The international attendance continues to be strong here from Chile, Costa Rica and all over the world."
ASR's Runway put on a "Royal Affair" where retail buyers took notes on the top looks for fall 2010 in the juniors and young contemporary markets. Buyers from Macy's, Pac Sun, Hansen's and hundreds of other shops grabbed front row seats for the show. "It was good to see the surf market converging with skate and punk," said So Kim, New York Buyer, Macy's. "Everything was interchangeable with the runway mixing and matching girly and edgy pieces. The versatility is there, a girl can make herself look as sweet or edgy as she'd like."
Retailers took advantage of various seminars throughout the show including the BRA Retailer Survivor Series the day before ASR. "The BRA Survivor Series hit exactly on what we needed," said Bob Culbertson, Owner of Calavera Board Supply in Prescott, Arizona. "My 27-year-old son needed training in merchandising and I need training in digital retailing."
On day one of the show, Volcom shelled out $10,000 for the best trick on various sections of the ASR Mini-Ramp. For overall ripping Brad McClain took home $800. On the barrier David Loy won $1,500 for his frontside blunt on barrier and lipslide from barrier to lipslide on the extension. And on the Volcom Stone, Shawn Gutierrez grabbed $1,500 for his frontside 5-0 off the Stone.
The higher-fashion, crossover show CLASS@ASR returned with additional brands in the curated mix spanning the boutique, specialty, swim, accessories and footwear markets. Between appointments buyers indulged in haircuts from Barracuda Salon, spa treatments from Osea, complimentary drinks and relaxing nooks to catch up on e-mail.
"It was our first time at the show. It's an appropriate streetwear show with a good, uniform set up," Corey Bullough, Owner of Fice in Salt Lake City, UT. "I found some new brands including Jedidiah at Class@ASR. Then used the rest of the days to preview fall and check in with brands that we already work with including WeSC, Creative Recreation and Insight."
"We've seen some great retailers. Sun Diego, a local shop, has been here with their whole team. We have been selling to them for a while and the owner hasn't actually seen the full product selection in person until now," shared Eric Ruhle, GM of WeSC. "We have also seen Zumiez, which has been really great, they seemed to like our whole vibe. CLASS@ASR is really kickback and relaxed. We have been writing a lot of orders and it hasn't been rushed. This is definitely our strongest show so far."
Swim brands showed summer and cruise collections at CLASS@ASR. L*Space's National Sales Manager, Debby Martin said, "The setup here is also great. We love how the look, shelves and whole esthetic are this show. The whole purpose is to get in new buyers and we have definitely seen that."
Vestal's booth was busy as they debuted a new line of sunglasses at CLASS@ASR. AMBSN, which launched at ASR four and a half years ago, continues to see growth, "We saw some larger specialty retailers that we'd been reaching out to for awhile," said Dustin Odbert, Brand Manager for AMBSN. "We wrote paper with a couple existing and new accounts. This show is a great working environment."
Atwater had a big presence at the show with a full schedule booked for ASR, lots of walk-by traffic at CLASS@ASR, an art installation and a partnership with Lefty's to offer old-fashioned shaves. "We have seen some key accounts and there has been a good mix of buyers including a lot of international buyers," said Dean Bradley, President of Atwater. "A lot of people are interested in our products and we have also got some attention because we recently won 'Breakthrough Brand of the Year' from SIMA."
Bob Culbertson, Owner of Calavera Board Supply in Prescott, Arizona said, "I liked Crossroads being downtown. It was really convenient. We're strictly skate and could shop brands like Vans and Sector 9 at ASR and shop hard goods easily at Crossroads. This collaboration between ASR and Crossroads just makes sense – it brings the industry back together."
Crossroads was staged in the PetCo parking lot, a quick walk from ASR. The event retained its relaxed, raw vibe and had free Wahoo's for lunch, free drinks, over 100 brands showing hardgoods, footwear and soft goods, and of course lots of skateboarding.
"Retailers can go from ASR to Class@ASR to Crossroads and wherever they feel the most comfortable they can spend the most time. It's basically a win-win," said Jamie Thomas, Founder of Crossroads as he skated laps around the show checking in with everyone. "It's really great that ASR is supporting skateboarding this way and helping us basically cater to skateboarding and all of the retailers and exhibitors. It's a big move and I'm excited that it's actually going so smoothly and it feels so right still."
Skate shops from around the world seemed happy to shop all three shows during the two day event. "I think it's a great move the fact that they're able to move hard goods over here," said Ed Taylor, owner The Quickie Mart (and The Mark-It Store), Tulsa, Oklahoma. "I'm glad that Jamie Thomas and ASR got together and made this happen."
Crossroads closed out with a bang as Nyjah Huston took $3,000 topping Chris Cole and Nick Molino in the best trick contest. "My favorite trick was the nollie heel noseslide because I usually don't land that first try," said Nyjah Huston. "Battling with Chris was cool, man. He's a great guy and an amazing skater so it's great to be up there with him." The shark ramp and sword rail each took on a 30-minute jam session where Cole landed an array of tricks for second and $2,000.
"It's cool just being in a parking lot downtown," said Dave Swift, Editor of The Skateboard Mag. "This is the way skateboarding should be. Everybody that knows each other kind of talking, and then you can get the retailers coming in and actually hang out with pros and people from the media. And there's skating – hey, that's good!"
ASR Marketplace returns August 13-15, 2010 in San Diego. ASR will again team up with CLASS@ASR and Crossroads to offer many convenient options to buyers. Register at ASRBiz.com starting in June 2010.
See you at ASR Marketplace, August 13th – 15th!
ASR, produced by Nielsen Expositions, is a full service trade show whose goal is to create, market and produce high quality trade shows and educational conferences. ASR is the leading action sports industry trade event, bringing together top manufacturers, retailers, industry advocates and media to conduct the business of surf, skate, snow, swim, style, moto and youth culture. Now in its 29th successful year, ASR gathers over 600 action sports brands and approximately 5,500 retail buyers and decision makers two times a year, with spring and summer season shows in San Diego. For additional information regarding ASR, check out www.asrbiz.com.